Donna Shalala may have just averted her worst nightmare. Ever since Napoleonic Ponzi booster Nevin Shapiro spilled his guts to Yahoo Sports this summer with allegations that he'd rained gifts on student-athletes -- from cars to hookers to piles of cash -- the worst-case scenario for the Canes would be watching a parade of former players called to the stand to testify under oath about their relationship with Shapiro.
Looks like that's not going to happen. UM has agreed to pay a bankruptcy court $83,000 to settle any illicit Ponzi scheme cash Nevin may have passed on to its players.
The agreement -- which you can read in full below -- likely means that no one will ever be able to compel the 70-plus athletes that allegedly got free stuff from Shapiro to talk under oath.
By paying up now, UM can avoid admitting any guilt and avoid subpoenas.
Here's the statement the school released this morning about the payment:
"The university has agreed to return $83,000 in monies received both directly and indirectly from Capital Investments owner Nevin K. Shapiro.
This amount includes payment of $3,000 in penalties levied by the NCAA on 11 current student athletes who received improper benefits from Mr. Shapiro. The agreement was the result of a lengthy negotiation process and brings closure to the university's obligations in the bankruptcy case."
Combined with the recent reinstatement of basketball player DeQuan Cook, whom Shapiro alleged he'd paid $10,000 to join the UM team, Shalala and her athletic department have to be feeling better about their prospects of avoiding major sanctions.
Still, Shapiro's attorney, Maria Elena Perez, reiterates to The Miami Herald this morning that she believes the settlement is just a fraction of what Shapiro gave to Canes athletes.
"Based on what I know, the settlement is but a footnote in comparison to what Mr. Shapiro provided in the way of benefiting UM," Perez tells the paper.
Here's the full settlement agreement:
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